Herbalist says herbs keep her family healthy

Staff writer

Karen Woodward of Florence recommends implanting a regular does of chickweed, wild sage, and dandelions into a routine. All the herbs naturally grow in the Flint Hills environment and can be brewed in a tea.

“You could stay extremely healthy,” she said.

Woodward became an herbalist partially out of necessity. About 45 years ago, she was worried for the health of her three daughters and son she was raising alone. She was working a part-time job but the state recommended she quit her job to receive government health insurance. She felt she could not quit her job, but she wanted the safety net of insurance.

“I was scared,” she said.

By turning to herbs, she said she was able to avoid any doctors’ bills while her children were growing up. If one of her daughters was coming down with a cold, she would give her Echinacea tea, which has proven powers to soothe respiratory symptoms. It is sometimes used for asthma patients.

Echinacea is another flowering plant that grows in the Flint Hills, but residents can look in their own back yard for remedies. Woodward praised the abilities of dandelions, which are good for cardiovascular and digestive health and are chocked full of B and C vitamins. She also grows many herbs herself like basil and sage.

“I’ve learned a world of information,” Woodward said of her four-decade journey as an herbalist. “How to take care of yourself; how to become responsible for your health. Your body uses what is natural. You can have a healthier lifestyle.”

Woodward is giving a class May 18 at her home 111 W. 6th St., Florence that includes recipes using herbs.

 

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